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McCollum hopes hard work pays off

Griffins' goalie wants to be in action, not have front row seat to it

Monday, 01.21.2013 / 6:21 PM ET / News
By Bill Roose  - Managing Editor | DetroitRedWings.com
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McCollum hopes hard work pays off

The Griffins' Gustav Nyquist (14) and goalie Petr Mrazek in action against the iceHogs on Breast Cancer Awareness Night in Rockford, Ill., last Saturday evening.

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Griffins goalie Tom McCollum could see it coming.

But certainly not to the magnitude that eventually transpired last Saturday when Grand Rapids and Rockford IceHogs tussled at BMO Harris Bank Center.

“They’ve been a lot of fight-filled games when we’ve played them, but I don’t think that (Saturday) ever crossed anybody’s minds,” McCollum said. “There have been fights pretty much every game, so you knew something was going to happen.”

A season’s worth of animosity and ugliness heated to a boil when the Griffins and IceHogs, the minor-league affiliate of the Chicago Blackhawks, engaged in an old-fashioned bench-clearing brawl, resulting in 192 penalty minutes and 13 player ejections.

In seven games this season, the Griffins and IceHogs have amassed 604 penalty minutes – that’s little more than 86 PIM per game. Rockford will host the Griffins in the last of an eight-game season series on Feb. 22.

The two AHL clubs have had a long contentious rivalry, McCollum said.

“We’ve really had eight different guys who have fought somebody on their team at some point,” McCollum said. “That’s probably something that contributed to the other night. We’ve had a lot of guys go at it in the past, just some bad blood building up.”

For their involvement in the second-period skirmish, which lasted more than 3 ½ minutes, five Griffins’ players – goalie Petr Mrazek, defensemen Gleason Fournier and Brian Lashoff, and forwards Francis Pare and Tomas Tatar – received game-misconducts and subsequent ejections.

McCollum, however, was the lone Griffins’ player who didn’t join the fracas.

“There’s no room on the bench there, so I was in the Zamboni tunnel and they weren’t interested at all in opening the door and adding another body to it,” said McCollum, who entered the game after Mrazek’s ejection. “Their backup goalie stayed on the bench too, which at least, numbers-wise, kept it really even. So I really had a front-row seat to everything.”

McCollum will have a front row seat again when he backs up Jimmy Howard in Monday night’s game against the Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena. The Red Wings recalled McCollum for the next two games after backup goalie Jonas Gustavsson complained of groin soreness on Sunday.

The Red Wings’ first-round draft pick in 2008, McCollum made his NHL debut nearly two years ago, where he surrendered three goals on eight shots in a backup role. He hasn’t played for the Red Wings since, but he remains hunger for another chance in the league.

“I would definitely love to, especially considering how the first go-around went,” said McCollum, who is 10-6-1 with a 2.69 goals-against this season. “I know I’m much better than that. Two years later I think I’ve really learned a lot and have been working hard the last couple of years. It would be nice to get a chance to show what all of my hard work has led to.”

Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @Bill_Roose


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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 PLAYOFFS
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
T. Tatar 5 0 3 1 3
M. Green 5 1 1 -1 2
A. Athanasiou 5 1 0 1 1
G. Nyquist 5 1 0 2 1
H. Zetterberg 5 1 0 3 1
J. Abdelkader 5 1 0 -3 1
B. Richards 5 1 0 -4 1
D. Helm 5 1 0 -1 1
D. Larkin 5 1 0 -2 1
N. Kronwall 5 0 1 3 1
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 1 2 0 .945 1.36
J. Howard 0 2 0 .891 3.59